Recycling paper, cardboard and plastic

Recycling of household waste

In the years to come, the selective sorting of our bins will become more and more obvious. But this new habit is not always easy to take because we do not know the recycling channels well and we have not yet learned to recognize the different materials that make up our trash. We therefore offer you an overview of the main household waste recycling techniques and their advantages.

The paperboard.

The collected paper-cardboard is suspended in water in order to rid it of impurities such as staples, glue etc. It sometimes also undergoes deinking and bleaching. Long fibers and short fibers are then separated because they do not have the same properties. Finally, the suspended pulp is stretched on conveyor belts, dried and processed for finishing.

Each treatment reduces fiber quality: For quality recycled paper, so you have a used quality paper, with the addition of new fibers. The proportion of recycled fibers and new fibers depends on the quality and destination of the new product. For example, used paper and cardboard represents on average 56% of the raw material for newsprint and corrugated 86%.

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Benefits of recycling paper and cardboard:

  • It requires less operation and energy than making paper from wood.
  • It prevents the incineration or landfill of a large part of household waste (approximately 25% by weight).


Please note, only plastics bearing the numbers 1 and 2 are recyclable for individuals. The other plastics are not used enough in everyday consumer products.

It is mainly the bottles that are recycled because they represent a large homogeneous flow of two large families of plastics (PET and HDPE). The other sources are little exploited because they consist of dozens of kinds of plastics, in small quantities, often contaminated, that it is not economically relevant to recycle. Here are the details for PET and HDPE.

a) PET

PET bottles are recognizable by their transparency and the welding point they present on their underside. They are most often reduced to flakes and sold as raw material. PETs find many applications in textiles (the famous fleeces, padding for sleeping bags, etc.) or others (flower pots, gadgets, etc.).

b) HDPE (PolyEthylènehautedensité)

HDPE plastics are opaque, dense and their weld is elongated and well marked. Unlike PETs, HDPEs do not tolerate any impurities, under penalty of losing their qualities. But above all, the secondary raw material (that is to say from recycling) has the same qualities as the primary raw material and can be used for the same applications. For example, your HDPE milk bottle is made from 25% recycled material.

plastic recycling benefits:

  • It saves a large part of the energy required to manufacture primary plastics.
  • It mitigates some problems with pollution from plastics and their manufacture.
  • These secondary raw materials are cheaper.
  • The costs and pollution linked to incineration (plastics are the main source of dioxins and furans) or to landfill have disappeared.

Learn more and Links

- Recycling: glass, metals and Tetra Pack
- our garbage
- Directory of recycled products

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